Spring has finally sprung and after a long, hard winter, we think that’s definitely reason to raise a glass. Let’s take some inspiration from nature and add a floral touch to our cocktail creations with some edible flowers! Read on to discover the benefits of consuming flowers, find out which ones are edible, how to source them, as well as fantastic recipes to create some blooming good cocktails!
Aside from being oh-so visually pleasing, (and guaranteed to get all the likes on Instagram), flowers offer us a breadth of new textures and flavours to play with, ranging from sweet, savoury, fruity, minty, peppery, perfumed… the list goes on. So next time you want to liven up your food or drinks, look to mother nature for inspiration.
Apart from looking and tasting good, edible flowers are usually high in antioxidants and vitamins that can provide a host of health benefits. Dandelions are particularly rich in antioxidants and can help control blood sugar levels, while pansies are a rich source of several potent plant compounds known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Which Flowers Are Edible?
For a flower to be “edible”, it has to tick a few boxes. First of all, it needs to be intrinsically non-toxic. Many common garden flowers such as tulips, daffodils and most types of lilies are toxic to humans if ingested, so it’s vital you do your research before experimenting. Also, make sure to research which part of the flower you can eat. Many flowers, such as pansies, can be eaten whole, but some, like Honeysuckle, have edible flowers but toxic berries. A quick Internet search will point you in the direction of flowers that are safe to eat and warn you of those you should avoid.
Secondly, the flowers can’t have been treated with anything toxic. That means no chemicals like insecticide, fungicide or herbicide. Once you’ve established that the flowers are non-toxic and chemical-free, you’re good to go!
While there are countless edible flowers out there, some of the most common ones include:
- English daisies, and
Chances are you’re already growing edible flowers in your garden without realising it!
Where Can You Find Edible Flowers?
You can often buy edible flowers in some gourmet sections of supermarkets, your local Farmer’s market, and from several online retailers like Maddocks Farm Organics or Herbs Unlimited. Just make sure they are definitely marked as “edible” before purchasing. However, our favourite option is to grow your own in your garden or balcony! Not only is it inexpensive, it adds a wonderful splash of colour to your home, it’s surprisingly fun, and will put you in a springtime mood in no time. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than using your own produce and it will certainly impress your friends and family!
How to Prepare Edible Flowers
- For best results, pick your flowers early in the morning when it’s cool and they have just fully opened.
- Inspect them to make sure they’re insect-free. Nobody wants creepy crawlies floating around in their cocktail!
- Flowers are a lot more delicate than fruit and vegetables, so you need to be extra careful when washing them. Give them a gentle clean by dipping them in a bowl of clean water and hand-drying them before using.
- If you need to store them, make sure they’re dry, then place them face down onto damp paper towels in sealed containers in the fridge. Most should keep for a couple of days, but it’s best to use them within a few hours of picking.
Our Top Pick of Flower Cocktails
While there’s a whole world of flower cocktails to explore, we’ll get you started with three of our favourites which use heavenly homemade flower syrups and beautiful floral garnishes…
Blueberry and Lavender Gin Fizz
Plant some lavender at home and you’ll have a fragrant and versatile herb to use in cooking, make aromatic oils, and concoct dreamy cocktails. And not only does it taste great, bees love it! So do your part to protect these essential pollinators by growing some lovely lavender today!
We suggest using it in this floral and fruity blueberry and lavender gin fizz!
Ingredients (Makes One):
- 1 tsp lavender syrup* (or more if you like a stronger flavour)
- 50ml gin
- 100g of fresh blueberries
- lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp water
- Soda/ tonic water
*To make your own lavender syrup mix equal parts sugar and water plus 3 tbsp of fresh or dried lavender in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for up to one hour. Drain through a fine sieve into a bottle and store in the fridge.
- Simmer the blueberries and water in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until broken down. Mash the mixture or blend in a blender and allow to cool.
- Pour the blueberry puree, lavender syrup, gin and a squeeze of lemon juice into your glass and mix well.
- Add ice to each glass and then top up with soda or tonic water. Mix to stir the blueberry mixture at the bottom.
- Garnish with a sprig of lavender.
Voilá, a lovely lavender gin fizz!
- If you’re not a fan of gin, swap it for white rum or vodka.
- You could use tonic water instead of soda water if you’re using gin or vodka.
- Switch the lemon juice for lime and the blueberries for any other type of berry to mix it up!
Cardamom Rose Cocktail
Aside from making a beautiful centrepiece or gift, roses can be used in a wide range of recipes and are very high in vitamin C. Why not try it in this fresh and floral cardamom rose cocktail?
Ingredients (makes one):
- 50ml of gin (Hendrick’s gin works particularly well as it’s infused with rose)
- 10ml lemon juice
- 20ml of rose syrup*
- 25ml of grapefruit juice
- 2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
- soda water to top up
- 1 Cardamom pod
*Mix equal parts water and sugar plus a handful of dried rose petals and bring them to the boil. Then let them steep before straining the mixture into an airtight container. It should keep for up to two weeks.
- Put the cardamom pod in a cocktail shaker and gently muddle. Give it just enough pressure to crack the pod and a few of the inner seeds or it will overpower the drink.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and then shake well with ice.
- Strain over fresh ice into an old fashioned glass to remove the cardamom pod.
- Top up with soda water.
- Garnish with rose petals.
- Try substituting the gin for vodka.
- Add a sprinkle of black pepper and some thyme for extra aromas and colour.
Honey Chamomile Whiskey Cocktail
This is the perfect cocktail for lazy days in the sun. With honey, chamomile and a good dash of whiskey, you’ll be feeling relaxed in no time.
- 15ml honey chamomile syrup*
- 50 ml whisky
- Juice of half small lemon
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Fresh chamomile flowers
* Add equal parts water and honey to a saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring to boil, add 2 tbsp of chamomile flowers and reduce the heat. Let the mixture simmer for 10-20 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a jar. If sealed correctly, this mixture can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
- Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Strain over a glass filled with fresh ice.
- Add fresh chamomile flowers to garnish.
- Try bourbon instead of whiskey
- We think Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey would make this drink sing!
We hope this article has given you some inspiration to experiment with edible flowers this spring and we can’t wait to hear about your concoctions! And remember, Drinks&Co has everything you need to make the perfect cocktail!